Ernest Newell’s influence on Misterton has been likened to that of the Lever Brothers at Port Sunlight and Titus Salt at Saltaire.
Local historian David Seymour has just completed researching and writing a book about the importance of Newell’s Engineering Works in the village. The book will be launched on Saturday 9th November at a book-signing at Misterton Library from 10.00am to 12.00pm. The front-cover illustration is from a company brochure. Newell’s Engineering Works made machinery for use in the cement industry and for crushing slag, waste from coal mining and quarries.
The book draws on the experiences of local people who worked for the company. Now in his nineties, someone who spent his 50-year working life at the factory, Ken Maw, compared the founder, Ernest Newell, to those Victorian entrepreneurs.
Lever Brothers, Salt, and Ernest Newell all created employment in their industries but went much further in also providing housing and social facilities. Although not quite on the same scale as the other Victorian magnates, the influence of Ernest Newell and his engineering works on the village cannot be underestimated.
For over 100 years, the Newell’s Engineering Works was the lifeblood of the village, providing employment for over 300 people with generations of families working there. Another former employee, Stuart Johnson, seeing an extract about Arthur Kellington, his grandfather, who worked for Newell’s in the early 1900s, described how each succeeding generation had family members who worked there. So many former employees spoke of the firm as being the ‘Newell’s family’ with managing directors of the company living locally in a large house in the village, The Thorns, built by Ernest Newell in 1903. This was one of over 50 houses the company built in the village. Throughout the century, Newell and his directors were also local community leaders in many ways.
For generations, the company produced heavy machinery, which was exported all over the world for varied uses: from the cement industry to supporting the war effort. In the Second World War, Newell’s was involved in producing parts for Empire-line freight vessels, landing craft for the Normandy D-Day landings, and parts for the Mulberry harbours built on the Normandy coast after D-Day.
The company saw changes in ownership and re-organisation over the years, seeing amalgamations and mergers with companies like Hadfields of Sheffield, Dunfords, Jenkins of Retford, and being part of Tiny Rowlands’ Lonrho Group in the 1980s.
David’s book covers the history of the company from its beginnings in the 1890s to its final demise in the early years of this century. It contains over 300 original photographs (many produced by Newell’s themselves), extracts from company publications (both about the machinery produced but also about the social side of the company), and recollections of people who worked there.
“I hope the book will be a fitting tribute to a company whose name for many years was synonymous with the village of Misterton and whose importance to the 20th century development of the village cannot be underestimated,” David said.
Only 100 these books will be printed. They will be A4 in size, professionally published, hard backed, over 230 pages long and with some 300 black and white photographs. The book will cost £15.00.
David is taking orders for the book and can be contacted via the following methods if anyone wishes to reserve a copy:
- 01427 890936
- 07952 544604
- 9 Station Street, Misterton.